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August 11, 2016

Eagles Links: Should Lane Johnson play with the starters tonight?

Eagles NFL

The Eagles will play in their first preseason game later tonight against Tampa Bay, and there are plenty of questions heading in:

     • How long will the starters play?
     • What will Carson Wentz look like in the second half?
     • Will Doug Pederson waste any of his timeouts a la Andy Reid?

One question we didn’t think would be hanging over the game until this week is the status of Lane Johnson, who is saying that his positive PED test was one big ol’ miscommunication. Problem is, simply denying doesn’t usually work, especially when it’s your second offense. With that in mind, the Inquirer’s Bob Ford wonders if Johnson should be playing with the starters tonight:

The Eagles haven't said anything about this situation yet. Interpreting the organization's silence, or the lack of a statement of support and belief in Johnson, would also require mind reading, so we'll leave that where it is. Everyone could be too busy looking for tackles.

Where a statement might be made is Thursday night. Things have changed, and the team better change in response as quickly as possible. If you've studied the offensive linemen who will apparently be available on Sept. 11, they need as many reps as they can get.

It’s a fair point. Heading into the season, the Eagles offensive line probably had greatest realistic range of performance of any unit on the team. If everything breaks right, they have a chance to be pretty good. If even one player goes down for an extended period of time, though, they are probably in trouble.

Johnson is staring at missing 10 weeks, which would likely be a disaster. Should the Eagles start preparing for life without Lane?

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice:

1.    Eagles Chat: On the off day, Jimmy handled all of your training camp questions.

2.    Lack of trade value: Even if Sam Bradford ups his game in 2016, there is a shot that he won’t be easy to move next offseason when it becomes Carson Wentz Time.

3.    Behind the magic: We have been focusing on his amazing tricks on America’s Got Talent, but Jon Dorenbos’ backstory is pretty incredible.

Other Eagles news, notes and analysis from around the web:

Why Your Team Sucks 2016: Philadelphia Eagles: Drew Magary, Deadspin

This is one of my favorite posts every year. Remember Jimmy’s dumpster fire series? This is that on steroids. WARNING: If you aren’t a fan of bad language and/or the Eagles getting absolutely roasted, this one might not be for you.

Broncos, Rams head preseason watchability rankings: Gregg Rosenthal,

Due to the Eagles quarterback situation, Rosenthal has the Birds ranked fourth:

Bradford, meanwhile, remains in Philadelphia. He's the Eagles' starter after a solid camp, so the team's placement in this tier is all about Wentz. Since the rookie won't get many practice snaps during the regular season, this month will likely comprise Wentz's resume for 2016. The job he's applying for: November starting quarterback when the natives get restless in Philly.

Jaguars Safety Survived Armed Robbery, Kidnapping: Earl Wolff, The MMQB

Remember the news of Earl Wolff being kidnapped? Well, the former Eagle shared a detailed account of his terrifying experience.

What we know so far about Carson Wentz: Jeff McLane, Philadelphia Inquirer

Here is what McLane learned about the rookie so far from his offseason work and training camp practices. A little, but nothing conclusive:

But Wentz has about 30 practices in the book since May, and almost any objective observer would have likely made the following evaluations of the 23-year old after his first three months in the NFL:

He has a right arm that is more than strong enough to make all the necessary throws. He is an above-average athlete for a quarterback. He can be an effective thrower on the move - perhaps partly because of that athleticism. He can be inaccurate and needs to work on ball placement. When he has missed receivers on intermediate-length routes, the passes have tended to sail high. He has a tendency to hold the ball too long in and out of the pocket.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann